Lentils and Butternut Squash Curry

Several years ago, my roommate at the time, introduced me to curry. It was love at the first bite. We made so many curry dishes that one day we noticed that her cat fur smelled like curry! Since then, I made many different curry dishes and each time I start smelling the spices warming up in oil I am in my happy place.

There is as many curry flavor as there are cooks. Curry is a mixture of many spices and for the dish I am sharing today, I’ll be using “Madras” curry. This will be a mild curry and therefore kids friendly. I personally like mine spicier and might share my version another day.

lentil and butternut squash curry

Ingredients

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can of dice tomatoes
  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
  • 3 1/2 cup salted water

lentil and butternut squash curry

Bring the lentils and the squashed to a boil in the salted water ( don’t worry about over-salting it will be drained and rinsed), reduce to medium and let it simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 min or until the lentil and squash are tender. While the lentils and squash are cooking, in medium size pot fry the onion, the curry powder and cumin seeds in oil until they become fragrant. Add the can of tomatoes and simmer on medium heat until onion are cooked. Drained and rinse the cooked lentils and squash and add to the curry pot, heat trough and it’s ready to serve.

This dish is better served with Naan, Roti or over basmati rice.

lentil curry

lentil curry

lentil curry

Tips : Not cooking the tomatoes with the lentils can be a bit of a pain and yes one more pot to clean, but the acidity of the tomatoes will prevent the lentil to fully cook.

Note for the pictures I did add some plain yogurt but this is optional and will not affect the taste to go without. 

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Easy yummy hummus dip

Having kids make us rethink our food choices and what we put into their little-never-full bellies. Days after days, we hear the same complaint of our little one being hungry or worse starving. Really, are we being that mean to our kids by not feeding them enough. I think not.

Hummus

Beside the three square meals we feed our kids, snacks is as important as gold. Trust me, if we want to keep our sanity, quick and easy snacks are the way to go. Walking down the grocery aisle, we all have notice the abundance of ready-made convenience snacks, and they are not only marketed for kids but, plenty for adults too.

If we want healthier choices, the options are to make our snacks ourselves. Ants on a log, crackers and cheese, fruits and dips, they are kids friendly and easy to make. Most kids enjoy dips or some sorts, and hummus is not only easy to make but relatively cheap.

Basic hummus is so versatile, serve it  as a dip with vegetables and bread, or as a spread into a sandwich.

hummus dip

Hummus

Basic Hummus ingredients :

  • 1 can of chickpeas (reserve a few chickpeas for decoration and about 3 tbsp of the liquid)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 6 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling )
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • Paprika (optional)

hummus

hummus

hummus

Hummus

In a blender, Ninja or food processor add all the ingredients and blend until creamy, add the reserve liquid of the chickpeas as needed. Pour into a dipping bowl, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle the paprika and garnish with the reserve chickpeas.

Enjoy!

Hummus fg1

Tips: Use this basic hummus recipe and be creative with it by adding other flavors, like dill and lemon zest, roasted peppers, how about pine nuts. Let your imagination run wild.

Veggies pizza on cauliflower crust

Let’s talk vegetables, either we love then or hate them. We want our kids to eat them and from time to time we check ourselves and wonder how long ago did I ate at least 5 a day? I remember certain vegetables that I used to hate, Brussels sprouts were one of them, and now I can’t get enough of them. We all tend to go trough phases with certain dishes and food where we dislike and after a while began to like and sometime even love.

Some foods have a certain acquired taste to them and you have to try them multiple times before you realize, hey this isn’t terrible after all. That is why we should offer a variety of food to our kids even if they claimed they don’t like it, because they do, they just don’t know it yet! Don’t get discouraged with the constant “I don’t like this”, ask them to eat a few bites and only a few bites of the repulsive food item each time to prepare it.

cauliflower crust pizza

Speaking of veggies and trying something new, I have seen these cauliflower pizza crust all over pinterest and other social media, I have to admit they got be curious but was a bit apprehensive about trying to make it. We are a vegetables loving family, and thinking of preparing this meal and risking wasting precious yummy veggies was a bit painful.

Anna Jones , Gluten-Free Pizza did stood out to me, and for this recipe it was my inspiration.

cauliflower

Cauliflower crust

  1. Medium size cauliflower
  2. 1 1/2 cups of old fashion oats
  3. 1 cup ground almond
  4. 1 1/5 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp oregano
  6. 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. grated (or vegan cheese)
  7. 2-3 eggs ( or Flax Vegan eggs substitute )

Cut the cauliflower into pieces and with a food processor chop until it resemble tiny grain of rice, add the remaining ingredients omitting the eggs. Run the food processor until everything is well blended together. add enough eggs until it forms a soft dough.

Spread the dough on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spread evenly into a thin layer.Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is dry to the touch and golden in color.

Cauliflower pizza crust

Tomatoes Sauce

  1. 1/2 can of tomatoes
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. bunch of basil or (1 1/2 tsp of dry basil)

This part is easy, put everything in the food processor and blend until combined. Spread evenly onto the cauliflower crust.

tometoes sauce

homemade pizza sauce

Pizza toppings

  1. 2 spring of swiss chard
  2. 1/4 cup spinach
  3. 1/2 cup fennel, tiny sliced
  4. 1/2 half of mozzarella ball ( or vegan cheese )
  5. 1 tbsp honey
  6. grated Parmesan (or vegan cheese)
  7. a few squeeze of a lemon juice
  8. fennel branches and leaves for garnish

fennel

Tear some Mozzarella and sprinkle over the sauce. Cut the Swiss-chard and spinach in small pieces and add to the pizza and add the fennel on top. Drizzle some honey and bake for another 10 to 12 min.

mozzarella veggie pizza

When the pizza is baked, squeeze some lemon juice over the pizza, grate some Parmesan to taste and add the leaves of fennel.

Pizza

Veg Pizza

cauliflower pizza

Slices and serve warm.

First impression 

Now I know what you are all waiting for, how was it?

Out of the four of us 2 liked it and 2 didn’t hate it but after 1 slice were done. The crust did hold it’s shape and you are able to pick it up and eat it like a dough pizza crust. the flavor combo worked for us but might not for everybody. Chard is really earthy flavor but combines well with tomatoes and the anise flavor of the fennel and lemon was a nice tangy-ness to balanced the sweetness. If I could have change anything I would have probably added onions and feta cheese and perhaps black olives.

Quick and easy Curry Dahl

I think that we often daydream about visiting foreign destinations, to soak in the culture, visit scenery that otherwise we couldn’t fully appreciate, and of course experience the smell and taste of the local cuisine. Not all of us have the opportunities to travel the world, but we are so fortunate to be in the day and age of electronic information. With a simple click on the fingers we and be transported via the web to locations thousands miles away, all from the comfort of our own home.

We also have the options to taste international cuisine in specialty restaurant, but if you want to stay within a simple budget, you can recreate the taste of the far away land right here in your kitchens.

Dahl

When I think of curry dishes, India, comes to mind. The fragrance of roasting curry powder, cumin seeds, ginger, and butter at the start of your curry dishes will transport you to a whole new world.

Lentils are a staples in South Asian cuisine but also are found throughout the world. Did you know that Canada is the number one exporter of lentils, farmers for the prairies are each years making their contribution helping numerous countries with this healthy legumes.

Did you know that eating a legumes like lentils with grains are a complete protein? We are by all means not a vegetarian family but being able to feed my family complete meals without meat is very budget friendly. There is so many different possibilities on how to prepare legumes and beans.

Today I am sharing one of my “Quick and easy red lentil Dahl” in about 30 minutes this dish can be on the table. It’s fulling, tasty and yes very easy.

What you will be needing

curry spices

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 inch of fresh frozen ginger, grated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups of red lentils
  • 6 cups of water
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to:

Brown the butter (ie Melt the butter over medium heat until it’s all bubbly and reach a golden brown color.  Watch closely, the browning butter is can burn easily) When the butter has reach the coloration desired add in the onion, stir for about 2 min.

frying spices

Add the curry powder, cumin seeds, salt and pepper flakes. When the onion are mostly cooked add the cinnamon, fresh ginger and red lentils and stir until they are all coated with the butter onion spices mixture then add the water.

curry

Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until lentils are soft. Squeezed the juice of the lemon  add salt and pepper to taste and serve over basmatie rice or with Nan or Roti (will be sharing how to make those soon)

Dahl curry

If you find that the curry is too spicy for your  or your kids taste buds, serve a generous spoon of plain yogurt over the dahl, or replace some of the water with a can of coconut milk.

Tips : When cooking lentils or legumes remember that acidity aren’t best friend during the cooking process but they become best buddies as a finish touch. Add acidity before the cooking has begun and lentils will not get soft and the texture will be off even after one or plus hours of cooking. Tomatoes, vinegar and lemon juice with brighten the flavors of any legumes dish when sprinkled on the dish just before serving.